On July 25, when OSHA announced $231,000 in proposed penalties for workplace safety violations, the agency selected American Airlines for a health inspection after reviewing the company's occupational injury and illness data. At O'Hare, OSHA officials inspected the airline's ramp services, cargo building, automotive shops, ticket and gate services, tower, two hangars and baggage room. (For more on last month's violations, read "American Airlines Cited By OSHA For Violations.")
OSHA now has issued one willful violation with a $70,000 proposed penalty alleging that a lack of warning signs or labels on previously identified asbestos-containing materials could result in employee exposure to that hazardous substance. Proposed penalties totaling $119,000 have been issued for 28 alleged serious violations in a variety of areas, including hearing conservation, confined space entry, respirator issues and failing to inform employees of the presence of hazardous chemicals and labeling many of those chemicals.
Two repeat violations related to rescue and emergency service procedures for confined space and respirator issues carry a proposed penalty of $37,500. One other-than-serious alleged violation proposes a $1,000 penalty for failure to maintain Hepatitis B declination forms.
A call to American Airlines was not returned.
“It is the duty of all employers to keep the workplace free of hazards that may damage the long-term health of people they employ,” said Diane Turek, director of OSHA's Chicago North Area Office in Des Plaines, Ill. “Exposure to dangerous substances, or failure to warn employees about potential exposure, can lead to tragedy for employees and their families.”
The citations issued last month have not yet been resolved, OSHA said.